Thursday, June 07, 2007

Travelling alone is a bit overrated.

There's nothing quite like travelling alone to make a kid crazy.
The reason for my interminable wait in the World's Most Annoying Airport (followed, aptly enough, by an interminable wait in Denver, also annoying) was that I was on my return trip home after visiting The School.

It was, to put it in the kindest terms possible, an interesting trip.
Day 1 was all flying- not so bad really, as everyone was pretty pleasant, and there were no major hiccups with my travel plans. I got into the hotel late on Sunday night, after driving through an area of the state which could only be described as 'shady.' Still, the hotel was nice- I drifted off to sleep with an entire empty bed next to mine: an imposing physical reminder that I was, in fact, going this one alone.

Day 2, the rental car company was nearly 2 hours late to pick me up, but compensated for it by upgrading me to a Jeep Liberty, which was shockingly fun to drive. Unfortunately, I christened the new wheels by promptly getting lost in a downtown, metropolitan maze. Upon (eventually) sorting my way out of that maze (without calling anyone to Google Map me, by the way), I proceeded to get stuck in stop & go traffic...all the way to school.
Good grief. I arrived in town just before complexes were closing, but was dead set on being productive, so I tried to drive around to get my bearings and find the complexes I was going to try to tour the next day. I promptly got myself lost, only to be overwhelmed with the sneaking suspicion that my new home is like West Sacramento, East LA, the North East district, or some other deeply unpleasant place, only without the familiarity of knowing where a good taco place was. It was a low point.

Day 3, I met a potential roommate, who showed me around town. Kind of her, certainly, but it was a bit like being on a kindergarden class trip. With an exchange student. Who doesn't like you. And thinks you're a sinner.
It was fun.
It became increasingly clear that my self-deprecating humor wasn't flying, and after a long and draining day of getting utterly nothing accomplished, we said our goodbyes and made fake girl-plans to talk tomorrow. As this was toward the end of the day, I dragged my bedraggled self to a late lunch and then a cappuccino- I knew things were not going well when even the promise of good foam wasn't making my day look up.
In an effort to be productive in the last bit of time I had left in town, I went to the school, where I nearly started crying in front of the admissions director. She was (as the staff has unfailingly been) irrepressibly helpful & friendly, even in the face of my inexplicable discomfiture.

Rather than explode into my existential crisis in her office, I went outside to have one on the lawn instead. Don't worry- I bought myself existential crisis sweatpants, so everything worked out alright in the end.

During my last half-day of housing searching, I actually got some productive work done, including some of the most shockingly awful tours I've been on (helpful hint for property managers: know whether your employee is squatting in your properties before taking people on tours), and finally fell in love with a precious house relatively close to campus. I also met a few girls from the incoming class & went on a tour, so my overwhelmingly lost feeling began to subside a little. I've resolved, in the words of a wise friend to "fake it till I make it."

Then I proceeded to get stuck in traffic (again), turn in my rental car late (oops), smile my way out of late fees, and rush to The World's Most Annoying Airport, only to sit in the airport for hours on end.

Now, during my 4 hour layover in Denver, I'm sitting & drinking at the airport bar. I've treated myself to some truly fabulous appetizers (garlic shrimp & rosemary bread), and am getting drunk with old men. Its been a long week- I've earned it. In the background, an entire concourse's worth of people are busily getting irate at United Airlines- they've been cancelling flights left & right, and everything is horribly delayed. With a nice little buzz on, its reassuring to know that I, at least, have nothing to worry about for the time being.

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...How dreary—to be—Somebody!
How public—like a Frog—
To tell one's name—the livelong June—
To an admiring Bog!
-- Emily Dickinson